Like much of Colorado and other Football fans, I have been intrigued by Tim Tebow. As a Christian, I am encouraged at how he isn't afraid to talk about God during and after the games. I also smile when I hear from his teammates during interviews that Tebow encourages them even during difficult times. The way Tebow demonstrates his faith as he plays for the Broncos encourages me to live out my faith in my own life.
The Broncos ended their season yesterday loosing spectacularly to the Patriots. What struck me more than the difference in the scores was this: A lot of people put their hope in Tebow to win the game. In some ways it's just like how Mom would sit in front of the TV and yell at Elway whenever the Broncos messed up. And when my aunt and I would watch the Broncos (pom-poms in hand) when I was a kid, we would yell, "C'mon Elway! C'mon, THROW!" when they would be on the line of scrimmage. The quarterbacks always seem to be the center of attention / blame during games.
I think since Tebow is a very outspoken Christian, a lot of people hope that since he has The Big One aka God on his side, they think he's more likely to pull off miracle wins. The expectation about supernatural help on the football field probably adds to the pressure Tebow feels already as a quarterback.
During the last Broncos-Patriots game, I started to feel sorry for Tebow. Not just because the score was 31-7 at half-time, but because of the weight he had on his shoulders of Broncos fans hoping his connection with God would produce a win. Did he feel like he was carrying Mile High Stadium, or the whole city of Denver on his shoulders? If he did, I have felt that same way.
Instead of a whole city's hope of a winning touchdown or field goal on my shoulders, I've felt the weight of my mom's hopes and dreams on me. Her self-esteem was determined by my successes or failures. As a child, this was a heavy weight to bear. Just like a Broncos loss brings Tebow heavy criticism from the media, not meeting my mother's expectations brought shame. And just like Tebow is put on a pedestal when the Broncos win, my accomplishments brought me lots of praise, and I was expected to do more.
This life of being so up and down in other people's eyes was hard for me, and I figure it's got to be difficult for Tebow. However, Tebow has something I didn't have growing up. He has the assurances of God's promises and love being sure. Christ won the battle for Tebow's soul. Christ gives Tebow worth, and dignity. God loves Tebow completely because by faith, Tebow has righteousness through Christ. Therefore, the stings of critical fans or press when he looses a game won't hurt as bad, and he doesn't have to mitigate that shame by winning to regain their love. In Christ alone his hope is found - in his fans or the press - all others is sinking sand. I pray that he continues to remember that.